Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Discourse with Dr.Selznick Part 5 and Lesson 42

Thank you for your mail and example of the tennis players.
Now, perhaps we can move on to the next questions I had asked you about your book.

From your book Page 9 – One such skill is the ability to rapidly identify and name letters.

Luqman: Doc, your book is on shut down learners which could include all kinds of learning disabilities. As such this comment may not be applicable. As far as my dyslexic students are concerned they have no problem with this. They all have problems with ‘sequencing’ which I have dealt with on 3 articles in my blog.

I have read the above on many articles and therefore my question is: Did you test this yourself?

Dr. Selznick: I have given rapid letter naming tasks many times. A test that I have commonly given over the years is the Comprehensive Test of Phonological Processing (CTOPP). One of the sub-tests is a rapid letter naming task. The task involves showing a child a random array of letters (perhaps about 60 of them on the page) and the child is timed in his ability to read the letters. The issue is not that the children get the letters wrong; almost all of the children say the letters accurately. However, the kids who are the ones to have later difficulty in actual reading are definitely more hesitant, inefficient and slower in terms of their reading of the letters.

I see rapid letter naming as one of a number of powerful indicator tasks.

I am containing my email to that question for now and look forward to your response or follow up question.

Hope you are well,


I'll keep this exercise in mind and hope to do it with some schools here before the end of the year. The red tape here takes forever to get anything done.

Thank you. It is good to know that you have had first-hand knowledge of this.

I have already dealt with the next paragraph in your book. If you look at my lessons you will note that I teach it in a slightly different way. I teach the individual sound of letters first. Right from the beginning I tell them that many letters have more than one sound. I start off with ‘at’ and say that it says ‘air’ ‘ttt’ amounting to ‘at’. Then I add ‘bbb’ and say this is ‘bat’. When I come to ‘A cat’ I tell them that this ‘A’ has a different sound – er. So it is ‘er’ and ‘air’.

The letter ‘a‘, has 6 sounds (may be more). This is also in my blog. At the end of the day none of my dyslexic students have a problem with what a word will sound like, with and without a particular letter. (Refer your second paragraph on page 9)

A dyslexic has no problem learning when he is told, while being taught, that certain letters represent many different sounds. His shutting down is because he cannot accept different sounds when he has not been told of same. This, I believe,is why he can learn Malay with ease as each letter represents one sound only (except for the letter 'e'.)


Dear Doc,
Your book pg 33-" It is my impression that many of the kids considered ADD or ADHD have difficulty, albeit subtle, with the processing of complex verbal and written language. While they may look severely inattentive, often their inattention is largely a functional weakness from taking in too much language and information that they do not understand readily. Their circuit becomes overloaded and shut down"

Luqman: Again, because you have grouped all the learning disabled under one roof, and because this refers specifically to ADD and ADHD, I have to let this go. All my dyslexic students talk too much to avoid reading. Every chance they get they will tell some story of some happenings in school. Sometimes I entertain them but at other times I just tell them to continue reading.

I have found that their concentration power is about 45 minutes or so. After that their reading performance seems to slow down. I guess this is because they use up too much of their energy to read well and get tired.

In short all my dyslexic students like to talk "too much" to avoid the unpleasant task of reading. However, after about half a year of reading their reading becomes fluent (at their grade level) and the interruption (to chat) is less frequent.

Your comments please.
Luqman Michel

Hi Luqman:

How are you today?

I think with the whole ADD/ADHD thing it gets murkier. There are many professionals here in the US who are very comfortable quickly labelling a child as ADD/ADHD and putting him on medication.

What I think I was trying to emphasize in the book was that many kids who are seen as off task and inattentive have other factors that are contributing, such as not particularly fine-tuned language systems. I see this all the time with the kids I evaluate. I test their language processes and let's say they are coming up in the low average range 15 - 30th percentile. Those kids will likely be inattentive in a language dominant classroom.

By the way, check out shut down learner on Facebook today. I mentioned you.

For lesson 42 click here:


Anonymous said...

How can one tell if a child has been mislabeled with AD/HD instead of Dyslexia? I believe my daughter is dyslexic. When I take her off her meds she goes through a period of time of AD/HD symptoms (hyper, silly, bouncey, disattracted). After about a month she seems fine but of course I have not given her any academic type work.

Also, what are your feelings on home schooling an AD/HD or Dyslexic student, especially since NJ laws are laid back?

sorry, one last thing. what are your feelings on the program called Spell to Write to Read?

Thank you to the both of you for taking the time to answer my questions.

Luqman Michel said...

I only know about dyslexia and as mentioned in my blog I don't know much about ADD/ADHD. I have not been able to get in touch with Dr. Selznick.
I will get back to you as soon as I can get in touch with him.
Meanwhile please read my blog from the first article onwards to see how you may help her with her academic work.
I am not familiar with the programme called Spell to write to read.
Please write to me at:
Luqman Michel

Dr. Richard Selznick said...


The issue of ADHD - Dyslexia assessment can be tricky. Part of the confusion resides in whose professional doorstep you land on to do the assessment. There is wide variation in the field as to how to conduct assessments.

With dyslexia you need to have someone who is familiar and grounded with various reading, writing and spelling instruments that yield good diagnostic information. When I assess for reading disabilities (dyslexia), I start at the individual word level and work my way out form there to listening to how a person reads in context. How labored is the reading? How strained? Are there many substitution errors interfering with the flow of meaning?

These and other related questions must be included (among other things) in a dyslexia assessment.

Such questions that are answered by specific tests are rarely a part of a typical ADHD evaluation. It is a very rare physician who is conducting these tests. The primary assessment tools for ADHD are rating scales and a good, detailed history. How impulsive is the child? How long has it been going on? What situations is the child impulsive? Is the child a very day dreaming type? Is the child able to sustain mental effort?

These are some of the core questions with ADHD and the inattentive subtype. You can see how the questions are really very different.

Hope that helps.


Dr. Richard Selznick

Dr. Richard Selznick said...


I neglected to make reference to the home schooling part of your question.

I have worked with a number of home schoolers over the years.

I think for certain kids it has worked out well. It so depends on the nature of what type of instruction is being given, the quality of the relationship with the parents and the the way in which social experiences are brought to the child.

I would think it though very carefully - perhaps talk it over with a professional who is well versed in these issues.

Hope that helps,

Dr. Rich Selznick

Anonymous said...

Thank you very much for taking the time to answer my questions. I am hoping to have my daughter evaluated (perhaps my Dr. Selznick) sometime soon.

Luqman Michel said...

Thank you and we wish you and your daughter well.